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October 5, 1999   VNN4867  Comment on this storyAbout the AuthorOther Stories by this Author

Broken Links And Empowered Mantras


EDITORIAL, Oct 5 (VNN) — (from Sanga sadhusanga@swami.org)

"It may not be necessary for the disciple to receive the mantra again from the siksa guru, but it will be necessary for the disciple to take absolute shelter of that siksa guru. The disciple may want to hear the mantra from this guru, and that is fine and understandable."

Q u e s t i o n: In the last Sanga posting, 9/29 'daiva Varnasram,' you wrote, 'It is considered that the mantra is empowered by the disciplic succession. If there is a break in the succession this broken link must be repaired'. Are you referring to harinama or gayatri mantra and by 'disciplic succession,' do you mean the diksa disciplic succession?

Swami Tripurari: Yes, I am referring to gayatri mantra and the diksa succession.

Q u e s t i o n: Could you elaborate on the statement, 'It is considered that the mantra is empowered by the disciplic succession.'

Swami Tripurari: Well, this is the general idea of the diksa disciplic succession. It is considered part of the 'pancaratrika marga.' When we speak of a parallel, zig-zag siksa lineage, we speak of a Bhagavata succession. The Bhagavata marga is one of realized devotees, whereas those in the pancaratra marg may not always be so. The diksa mantra falls under the pancaratra marg. It is found in this type of literature, etc. This line should be wholesome. That is best.

If, however, it is not so, and one compensates for that by taking shelter of a present day siksa guru representing the Bhagavata marg, one will remain connected. In this case it may not be necessary for the disciple to receive the mantra again from the siksa guru, but it will be necessary for the disciple to take absolute shelter of that siksa guru. In doing so, the disciple may want to hear the mantra from this guru, and that is fine and understandable.

Q u e s t i o n: Re: Sanga, 9/29, 'daiva Varnasram,' you mention that daiva varnashram, as concieved by Bhaktivinoda Thakura and implemented by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, 'the purpose is to help those with adhikara for the paramahamsa marg.' I thought 'paramahamsa' meant a type of sannyasi or renunciate yet you seem to be referring to grhasta life. Could you explain?

S w a m i : Those who embrace Srimad Bhagavatam embrace the paramahamsa marga. It is 'paramahamsa samhitam,' and 'paramo nirmatsaranam satam.' We embrace this ideal, yet we are not paramahamsas. So, through our sraddha in the ideal of the Bhagavatam and Mahaprabhu, we are eligible to tread this path. Yet in doing so, we need some auxiliary help to support our bhakti.

We cannot simply sit and chant like the paramahamsas. Thus the notion of 'daiva varnashrama' as mentioned in the eleventh canto of the Bhagavatam.

Q u e s t i o n: In your book Aesthetic Vedanta, on page 20, you write 'the effect of the Absolute tasting itself through its essential saktis is the creation of the phenomenal world and all souls' apparent relationship with it'. In the reference section for that page, reference 18, you state, 'lakavat tu lila-kaivalyam', 'the absolute creates the phenomenal world out of sport, as do worldly beings [sometimes] act [in sport out of joy]'.

Can you please explain this a little more? This sounds like Krsna is deriving pleasure from creating the phenomenal world. This is difficult to reconcile with the pain he must feel seeing the suffering of his seperated parts.

S w a m i : The idea here is that the motive for movement of the Absolute is joy only. Godhead has no necessity. When we perceive the world from Krsna's vantage point it will be seen as an abode of joy, 'visvam purnam sukhayate'. When souls see otherwise, the Lord is compassionate upon them and acts as their saviour.

Q u e s t i o n: I was reading in Caitanya Caritamrta about the characteristics of the two groups of gopis; the left wing and the right wing camps. At first I thought the lower position must belong to that of Radharani's camp but I had it completely backwards. It must be because of my experience of these feelings on the mundane plane where 'jealous love' is of a lower nature. How should we understand these things?

S w a m i : Even in material love, one likes to see his lover become jealous sometimes because it serves to demonstrate the extent of her love.

Radha's 'mana', or jealous love, is very endearing to Krsna, and he is subjugated by it. You must understand that jealousy in Goloka is not tainted as it is here. Everyone there is selfless in their love for Krsna, and Radha's insistence that she be honored first arises from the fact that she alone can satisfy Krsna fully. Thus her jealousy is only a matter of serving Krsna.

Q u e s t i o n: In Srila Sridhara Maharaja's book, 'Loving Search for the Lost Servant', he refers to the story from Brhad-Bhagavatamrta where Gopa Kumar enters Goloka and Krsna greets him saying, 'Why did you stay away? Why have you been living away from home for so long? You left Me, and have been passing lives after lives without Me? Still, I know what trouble you took to return to Me. I was with you. And now, after great trouble, you have again come back to Me.'

Doesn't this imply that the soul started out in the spiritual world in a personal relationship with Krsna? Isn't this contrary to the understanding that the origin of the soul is 'tatastha-sakti' and no one ever falls from Vaikuntha? Can you please help reconcile this?

S w a m i : Sridhara Maharaja and others have talked about using words such as 'return,' 'back to Godhead,' 'You left me,' etc. for effect, and because of the limitations of language to express the inconceivable. While teachers sometimes speak like this, they also teach us that we are 'nitya baddha,' eternally conditioned, and yet we experience our eternal relationship with Krsna. So we can think that this is how Krsna feels, for he thinks of us in terms of our highest prospect in his divine service, and thus he sees our conditioning as superficial. In his eyes we are his eternal servants, although we have yet to act fully in this capacity.

Q u e s t i o n: The aesthetic grounding of rasa in India's classical culture, which you discuss in your book 'Aesthetic Vedanta,' is it really linked to bhakti-rasa - or is spiritual rasa-tattva itself completely independent of material aesthetics? That is, when Rupa Goswami delineated the various types and expressions of rasa-tattva in Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, was this just a case of analogising from the contemporary cultural forms? Or are the forms of rasa he sets out completely spiritual and independent of India's aesthetic traditions?

S w a m i : One way to look at this is that the material world is a reflection of the spritiual world. In this sense sacred aesthetic rapture is the substance and secular rasa the shadow. When speaking from within the shadows, Rupa Goswami drew upon the reflection to explain the reality.

Otherwise, according to the Goswamis, there is no rasa in the secular arts other than 'vibhatsa' - disgust. This is the only taste one derives from material life, however sophisticated a form it may take.

[Reprinted with permission from Sanga 10/2/99 http://www.swami.org]

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